Brazil`s Superior Tribunal of Sporting Justice (STJD) Friday confirmed relegation for Portuguesa for fielding a suspended player, thereby saving outgoing champions Fluminense from the drop.
In a tumultuous ending to the national league season, Fluminense looked to have fallen through the trap door earlier this month for finishing fourth bottom, becoming the first reigning champions to suffer the ignominy of relegation.
But the STJD upheld on appeal an initial decision to dock Portuguesa four points for fielding suspended midfielder Heverton in the Sao Paulo-based side`s final league match of the season.
Heverton should have been serving a two-match ban for a sending-off a week earlier but came on for the last 13 minutes of a goalless draw with Gremio.
"The rules are made to be obeyed. Our ruling goes beyond Portuguesa or Fluminense -- these are rules governing football," concluded tribunal chairman Flavio Zveiter after the tribunal unanimously ruled the points deduction should stand.